Kafka Visits Costa Rica

The country that once had the best institutions in Central America is now hiring an agency of the UN created to solve problems in countries lacking those institutions.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


With full confidence, senior officials responsible for public infrastructure projects have justified the award of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), indicating that through this measure they will be able to sidestep the control exercised by the Comptroller General of the Republic over the award and performance of government contracts.

An article in Nacion.com quotes Andrea Soto, director of the Executive Unit of the National Highway Council (CONAVI) who said that: "They (UNOPS) apply their own procurement rules that have the same principles of the Public Procurement Act, in terms of disclosure, transparency, participation opportunity, but do not go through the Comptroller ".

Those responsible for the infrastructure of the Costa Rican Social Security Department (CCSS) will also be assessing delegating their responsibilities to UNOPS: "We are evaluating an option with people from the UN to see if it is possible to shorten the timeframes for tenders," explained the manager Gabriela Murillo. "It's an issue that we are just testing to see if they can give us some alternative advantageous results for the Department, in particular options for lowering timeframes. They have a much more streamlined mechanism for hiring. "

In this way, the country would not only resign sovereignty by delegating control of the execution of state expenditures in institutions outside of their organizations but would invest substantial resources in order to pay for these services: UNOPS charges 4% of the total amount of the projects administered.

More on this topic

More Bureaucracy, but International

September 2017

The Government of Guatemala plans to delegate to the United Nations Office for Project Services the supervision and execution of road works valued at more than $500 million.

The fate of road projects essential for the development of Guatemala could be as bad as some of those in Costa Rica, which have also been delegated to the United Nations Office of Projects (UNOPS). See "Challenges to the work of UNOPS".

Local or International, Bureaucracy Does Not Pay for its Mistakes

May 2017

Institutions such as the UNOPS, which supposedly come here to do what the locals can not, should be paid per piece of work for they finish, and not allowed to justify their failures with the same old excuses.

By Jorge Cobas González

Shoe Maker, Fix Your Shoes!!

March 2016

In Costa Rica an order has been given to suspend construction of a supervision contract awarded to the state run power company for a road building project, because it is considered outside of its normal tasks.


The confluence of interests within the Costa Rican state bureaucratic corporation has allowed for institutional nepotism, by means of direct contracts between state agencies, to be thought of as beneficial to the interests of society. It is in this way that impediments are created to private companies being awarded public works contracts.

For and Against the UNOPS

July 2015

While state officials are happy to delegate their responsibilities to the UN Office for Project Services, the Comptroller of Guatemala has declared that its services are "detrimental to the interests of the state".


The arrival in Central America of the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) was hailed by many as a factor that would allow the execution of public works which are very difficult or impossible for state institutions in the region to run, for various reasons ranging from lack of qualified personnel to simple negligence.

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